Nonie Darwish

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Nonie Darwish
Nonie Darwish 1.jpg
Nahid Darwish

1949 (age 73–74)[1]
EducationAmerican University in Cairo
Occupation(s)Writer, public speaker, Founder & President of Arabs for Israel
WebsiteArabs for Israel

Nonie Darwish (Arabic: نوني درويش; born Nahid Darwish, 1949) is an Egyptian-American writer,[1] founder of Arabs for Israel movement, and is Director of Former Muslims United. Darwish is an outspoken critic of Islam.[1][2] The Southern Poverty Law Center has described her as an anti-Arab[3] and anti-Muslim[4] activist.

Born in Egypt, Darwish is the daughter of an Egyptian Army lieutenant general, who was called a "shahid" by the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser,[5] after being killed in a targeted killing by the Israel Defense Forces in 1956. Darwish blames "the Middle Eastern Islamic culture and the propaganda of hatred taught to children from birth" for his death. In 1978, she moved with her husband to the United States, and converted to Christianity there. In the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks, she has written on Islam-related topics.[5] She is the author of four books: Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, The Devil We Don't Know: The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle East, and Wholly Different: Why I Chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values.


Nonie Darwish was born in 1949 in Cairo, Egypt.[6][1][7] Her father, Colonel Mustafa Hafez, was paternally of Turkish ancestry.[8] In the 1950s her Egyptian family moved to Gaza when her father was sent by president Gamal Abdel Nasser to serve as commander of the Egyptian Army Intelligence in Gaza, which was under supervision of Egypt. Hafez founded the fedayeen who launched raids across Israel's southern border, that between 1951 and 1956, killed many Israelis, the majority civilians.[1][9] In July 1956 when Nonie was six years old, her father was killed by a mail bomb in an operation by the Israeli Defense Forces.[1][7][9] The assassination was a response to Fedayeen's attacks, making Darwish's father a shahid.[10] The assassination was planned by Yehoshafat Harkabi. During his speech announcing the nationalization of the Suez Canal, Nasser vowed that all of Egypt would take revenge for Hafez's death. Darwish claims that Nasser asked her and her siblings, "Which one of you will avenge your father's death by killing Jews?"[11]

Darwish was the founder of an organisation called "Former Muslims United", which has been described as a "fringe group".[12] It was a project of American Freedom Defense Initiative, run by anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller.[13]

Darwish is a strong supporter of Israel, and has founded the group Arabs for Israel.[7][14] She says, "Just because I am pro- Israel does not mean I am anti- Arab, its just that my culture is in desperate need for reformation which must come from within".[15]

Views on Islam[edit]

Darwish believes Islam is an authoritarian ideology that is attempting to impose on the world the norms of seventh-century culture of the Arabian Peninsula. She writes that Islam is a "sinister force" that must be resisted and contained. She remarks that it is hard to "comprehend that an entire religion and its culture believes God orders the killing of unbelievers." She claims that Islam and Sharia form a retrograde ideology that adds greatly to the world's stock of misery.[16]

She claims the Qur'an is a text that is "violent, incendiary, and disrespectful" and says that brutalization of women, the persecution of homosexuals, honor killings, the beheading of apostates and the stoning of adulterers come directly out of Islamic texts.[16]

In her book Now They Call Me Infidel, Darwish calls upon America to "get tougher", impose stricter immigration laws especially on Muslim and Arab immigrants, endorse assimilation, and stop "multiculturalism and cultural relativism". She has also called for non-Muslim Americans to be wary of interfaith marriages particularly those where Muslims marry Jewish or Christian women.[17]

She has participated in several counter-jihad conferences and rallies organized by Stop Islamization of America and Stop Islamization of Nations.[18][19]


Critics have accused Darwish of operating as part of a "shariah scare industry".[20] According to professor Deepa Kumar, Nonie Darwish has played a role in legitimizing "racist attacks on Muslims and Arabs".[21]

In a 2008 article, Max Blumenthal wrote that Darwish has described Barack Obama as a "political muslim" and stated that Islam "was not a true religion".[22] At a 2011 hearing on terrorism in New York Darwish suggested that “The education of Arab children is to make killing of certain groups of people not only good, it’s holy,” and was accused by then New York State Senator Eric Adams of “bringing hate and poison".[23] In 2012, the Southern Poverty Law Center described Darwish as being part of a group of "rabid Islamophobes who promote an array of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and propaganda".[24] In 2017 the SPLC said Darwish had "made insidious claims including saying Linda Sarsour “wants” to give up her children “to die killing Jews” and that, “she wants to bring Sharia to America.”".[3]

Professor Sahar Aziz describes Darwish as someone who converted out of Islam and then allied with anti-Muslim far-right organizations. She writes that while Darwish's views may be sincerely held, she is exploited by Islamophobic right wing political groups.[25]

In a 2018 journal article, Steven Fink accused Darwish of using her “ex-Muslim insider” status to give herself credibility, as well criticising her for stating that “To be a Muslim is to take an oath of submission to the Sharia state, and that oath prevents you from claiming the human rights that are the priority of any true religion. That is why Islam’s greatest enemies are Christianity and Judaism and nations that are founded on their values” and suggesting Muslims “are incapable of feeling compassion toward non-Muslims. Acknowledging compassion to non-Muslim oppressed minorities is grounds for apostasy. A Muslim must stay hardened and unyielding” with Fink writing: "Worlds apart from acknowledging Muslim Americans as compatriots or fellow human beings, Darwish’s shariah scare industry portrayal transforms Muslims into anti-American automatons."[20]

Published works[edit]

  • Darwish, N (2006). Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror. Sentinel HC. ISBN 978-1-59523-031-7.
  • Darwish, N (2009). Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law. Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1-59555-161-0.
  • Darwish, N (2012). The Devil We Don't Know: The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle East. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-13339-2.
  • Darwish, N (2017). Wholly Different: Why I Chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Faith. ISBN 978-1621575788. OCLC 945232390.

Darwish denies that she is the author of an essay entitled "Joys of Muslim Women" attributed to her in a chain email which began to circulate on the internet in 2009.[26][27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Langton, James (13 May 2007). "Life as an Infidel". London: Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2009. And now, 50 years later, having converted to Christianity, she puts her life on the line speaking out against Islam and its oppression of women.
  2. ^ Kressel, Neil J. (2006), The Sons of Pigs and Apes: Muslim Antisemitism and the Conspiracy of Silence, POTOMAC BOOKS, ISBN 978-1597977029
  3. ^ a b Pigott, Stephen (26 May 2017). "Anti-Muslim Activists, White Nationalists and Anti-Government Figures Join Pam Geller in NYC to Protest Linda Sarsour". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  4. ^ Piggott, Stephen (27 January 2017). "Anti-Muslim Voices Gather in Texas Capitol For 'Homeland Security Forum'". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  5. ^ a b "We Don't Like to Hear That Here; Nonie Darwish is censored here and abroad". National Review Online. 20 November 2006. Archived from the original on 19 March 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  6. ^ Friedman, Lisa (5 June 2005). "Ex-Muslim calls on her people to reject hatred". Los Angeles Daily News (reproduced). Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  7. ^ a b c Blake Boldt, 'Nashville presentation focuses on homosexuality and the Islamic culture', in Out & About Newspaper, 4 October 2011 [1] Archived 9 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Darwish, Nonie (2006), Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror, Penguin Books, ISBN 1101217855, My father came from a large middle-class Egyptian family. Born in 1920, ... His father was of Turkish ancestry and his mother's family was rooted in the Egyptian delta.
  9. ^ a b Mehlman, Yossi. "Targeted killings – a retro fashion very much in vogue". Haaretz. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  10. ^ Langton, James (20 May 2007). "The power of the pen, and the sword of Islam". The Age. Melbourne.
  11. ^ Interview with Daily Telegraph; "We were brought up to hate and we do." 12 February 2006
  12. ^ Christopher A. Bail. Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream. Princeton University Press. p. 79.
  13. ^ "Anti-Muslim Voices Gather in Texas Capitol For 'Homeland Security Forum'". Southern Poverty Law Center.
  14. ^ Diamond, Ilana (15 August 2008). "It's lonely being pro-Israel on campus". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  15. ^ Nonie Darwish: Director Archived 8 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Former Muslims United.
  16. ^ a b Keeney, Patrick (17 February 2009). "Book Review: Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law by Nonie Darwish". National Post. Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  17. ^ Yaghi, Adam (18 December 2015). "Popular Testimonial Literature by American Cultural Conservatives of Arab or Muslim Descent: Narrating the Self, Translating (an)Other". Middle East Critique. 25 (1): 83–98. doi:10.1080/19436149.2015.1107996. S2CID 146227696.
  18. ^ "International counter-jihad organisations". Hope not hate. 11 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Factsheet: Nonie Darwish". Bridge Initiative. 4 December 2018.
  20. ^ a b Fink, Steven (26 September 2018). "The Shariah Scare Industry and the Clash of Temporalities". Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Multidisciplinary Studies: Mathal. 5. doi:10.17077/2168-538x.1092. ISSN 2168-538X.
  21. ^ Deepa Kumar. Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire. p. 183.
  22. ^ Blumenthal, Max. "Christian radio host Jan Markell hosted conservative activist Nonie Darwish, who advanced claim that Obama is a "political Muslim"". Media Matters for America. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  23. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (8 April 2011). "At State Senate Meeting on Threats to City, a Tense Debate Over Islamic Terror". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  24. ^ Schlatter, Evelyn (13 September 2012). "Values Voter Summit Provides Forum for Rabid Islamophobes". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  25. ^ Sahar Aziz. "Terror(izing) the "Veil": American Muslim Women Caught in the Crosshairs of Intersectionality". The Rule of Law and the Rule of God. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 217-218. The rise of female dissidents who converted out of Islam and now ally with far-right organizations holding anti-Muslim bias. Women such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, Bridgette Gabriel, and Nonie Darwish hold themselves out as experts on Islam but proffer views highly controversial, if not outright offensive, to a vast majority of Muslims in America. These women, with no identifiable Muslim constituency, are often touted by their benefactors as courageous voices against the oppressive ideology of Islam. While their views may be sincerely held, they appear to be exploited to do the bidding of right-wing political groups with clear anti-Muslim agendas, which further objectifies Muslim women within the larger national security debates.
  26. ^ Mikkelson, David (30 August 2010). "Joys of Muslim Women". Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  27. ^ Peterson, Latoya (19 August 2009). "Muslim Madness! Myths Surrounding Sharia". Jezebel. Retrieved 15 January 2021.

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